Nina V. Fedoroff, the Verne M. Willaman Chair in Life Sciences and Evan Pugh Professor at Penn State University, and an External Professor of the Santa Fe Institute, is one of eight scientists named today by President Bush to receive the 2006 National Medal of Science, the nation's highest award for lifetime achievement in scientific research. The honorees will receive medals at a White House ceremony on 27 July 2007.
The National Medal of Science honors individuals for pioneering scientific research, in a range of fields including physical, biological, mathematical, social, behavioral, and engineering sciences, that enhances our understanding of the world and leads to innovations and technologies that give the United States its global economic edge. The National Science Foundation administers the award, which was established by Congress in 1959.
Fedoroff is one of the nation's most prominent researchers in the life sciences and biotechnology. Fedoroff earned a bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry, summa cum laude, from Syracuse University in 1966 and a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the Rockefeller University in 1972. Throughout her career, she has distinguished herself in the development and application of molecular and genetic techniques to important biological problems. As a postdoctoral fellow, she worked on DNA-sequencing techniques, which she used to produce one of the first complete gene sequences, that of a Xenopus laevis 5S ribosomal RNA gene. She became a staff scientist in 1978 at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, where she turned to plant research, pioneered the application of molecular techniques to plants, and cloned some of the first plant genes. She then undertook the molecular characterization of the mobile elements -- now known as transposons -- discovered by maize geneticist and Nobel laureate Barbara McClintock in the 1940s. She cloned the first complete maize transposon and went on to study the molec
Contact: Barbara K. Kennedy